Wednesday, August 09, 2017
Celebrated with great zeal across the world, Eid-ul-Fitr is the most important festival of Muslims. The day comes just after the holy month of Ramadan and its month long fasting. Eid-ul-Fitr is marked on the first day of the Islamic lunar calendar Shawwal.
The term ‘Eid-ul-Fitr’ comes from two Arabic words - ‘Eid’, meaning ‘festivity’, and ‘Fitr’, meaning ‘to break the fast’. It is a celebration for the believers who successfully fasted during the holy month of Ramadan. Fasting in Ramadan refers to the act of abstaining your body from food and water and your soul from committing sins.
It is obligatory for Muslims to fast during the holy month of Ramadan. Fasting has been made compulsory due to two reasons - to learn patience or the control over ‘nafs’ and to instil in the heart of the believers’ empathy towards the less fortunate. It is about forgetting the material world for a while to purify your heart, to remember the Almighty and set your rhythm straight. Eid-ul-Fitr stands as a celebration of all of this.
Like all festivals, rich and sumptuous delicacies form an integral part of the celebration of Eid-ul-Fitr, sewain being the most important. Sewain is a desert made up of sweetened vermicelli cooked in milk and garnished with dried fruits. It is served on the auspicious occasion of Eid to emphasise upon the significance of sharing your food with your neighbours, friends and family.
The City of Nawabs, as Lucknow is often fondly called, boasts of a plethora of vibrant cultures and customs which are as old as the city itself. These traditions enrich the city’s history and diversity and bestow upon it the essence of its existence. The celebration of Eid-ul-Fitr in the city is done with such pomp and splendour that it indeed becomes a spectacle to behold. Many of the hotels in Lucknow see an increase in the number of tourists who come to view the festivities.
The celebrations of the festival are a centuries-old convention and were given patronage by every sovereign of Awadh. But what has not changed even after hundreds of years are the Eid prayers in the city. Hundreds of people gather around the famous mosques of the city, such as the Grand Mosque or Bada Imambara, and offer their prayers together, symbolising fraternity in the true spirit of the festival.
The Chaand Raat is the night before Eid-ul-Fitr when the moon is sighted in the sky and celebration of the festival the next day is confirmed. The Chaand Raat is undoubtedly the most exciting time to be in Lucknow as the entire city lights up. Shops all across the city’s markets, specially Nakhas, Aminabad, Akbarigate, Maulviganj, Hazratganj, Yahiyaganj, Rakabganj, Bajaza, Aliganj, Nishatganj, Mahanagar and Chowk, glitter through the night. Family and friends shop for the big day all night, and streets and roads bustle with voices of people as they buy sewai, dazzling bangles, fruits, and women apply henna on their palms.
Eid-ul-Fitr is, therefore, more than just a festival. It is an occasion to cherish all of life’s blessings, be grateful, and celebrate with your loved ones as you embrace them saying, Eid Mubarak!